Dept. Code: ECSD

Through the Graduate School, the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy offers an interdisciplinary course of study leading to a Ph.D. Details regarding areas of specialization can be found at the Abess Center website.  Doctoral students are supported by research assistantships, which include tuition remission and a monthly stipend. All students are also required to serve satisfactorily for two terms as teaching assistants in the Abess Center undergraduate program.


Students admitted to the program must have earned a bachelor's or master's degree and should display a strong interest in the interdisciplinary study of ecosystem science and policy.

Curriculum Requirements

Core Courses
ECS 601Interdisciplinary Environmental Research: Introduction to the Why and the How3
ECS 603Interdisciplinary Environmental Methods3
ECS 605Interdisciplinary Enviromental Law and Policy3
ECS 607Interdisciplinary Environmental Decision Analysis3
ECS 840Doctoral Dissertation12
Proposed Additional Courses 118
Additional Courses to get to 60 Credits18
Examinations 2
Dissertation 3
Total Credit Hours60


The Environmental Science and Policy (ECS) graduate program was formulated in response to increasing societal demand for academicians and practitioners at the Ph.D. level with interdisciplinary training aimed at addressing complex problems concerning the impact of human activity and global climate change on so-called linked social-ecological systems. Our graduate program targets top caliber students whose demonstrated skills and interests bridge science and social science, and who seek the theoretical and analytical skills to address human-environment problems from academic and applied perspectives.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate command of interdisciplinary environmental policy literature.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to perform sound interdisciplinary analyses of environmental problems and formulate sound interdisciplinary research approaches.
  • Students will exhibit an ability to communicate effectively in oral presentations and in writing.